WHEN five friends reunite to see their boy band idols one, it could be the Greatest Day of their lives...

Featuring more than 15 Take That hits, Greatest Days was originally produced as The Band, a hit musical by David Pugh, Dafydd Rogers and Take That. The UK tour opened in 2017 and broke box office records.

Greatest Days, by acclaimed playwright Tim Firth, is a heart-warming story of love, loss and friendship. This summer saw the release of the movie version, starring Aisling Bea and Jayde Adams.

In the stage show Jennifer Ellison plays Rachel, a fortysomething mum who, back in the Nineties, was obsessed with a boy band. Reunited with her four best pals two decades later, she’s hoping to see the lads one more time, after entering a competition to see them perform in Athens. “She’s had a pretty normal life, she’s longing for that bit of excitement again,” says Jennifer. “She and her friends are suddenly setting off to Athens on an adventure.”

Mother to three children with her husband, boxer Robbie Tickle, Jennifer says she can relate to Rachel: “When you grow up and you have a family, I think you forget yourself sometimes and you lose touch with friends. One thing that hit home when I watched the show was how you should keep in touch with people you grew up with.”

Is she a Take That fan? “Isn’t everybody?” smiles Jennifer. “Their music is fantastic and when you see them live, they’re incredible. They’ve been in my life from when I was a young girl.”

Jennifer trained as a dancer from the age of three, inspired by the film Annie. She studied at the Royal Ballet School before pursuing an acting career and aged 15, she landed the role of feisty teen Emily Shadwick on Brookside. Jennifer says the soap “opened up every single door that’s ever come about for me since. To work with such incredible actors, writers, producers and directors at that young age was basically my college. I learned on the job.”

She was in Brookside from 1998-2003, when she had Top 20 hits with Baby I Don’t Care and Bye Bye Boy. “It was fantastic,” she says of her brief stint as a popstar. “I got to do festivals and Party in the Park at the Pier Head. If I could go back, I’d appreciate it all a bit more. At the time, you’re going from one job to the next, constantly focused on what’s coming next and never enjoying the now.”

She made her musical theatre debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago. “It was a real pinch-me moment because when the show opened in the West End Ruthie Henshall, who was Roxie, presented me with a dance award and I was in awe, thinking ‘I want to play that role one day’.”

She went on to star in such shows as Legally Blonde, Singin’ in the Rain, Calendar Girls and has also modelled, released fitness DVDs and been a radio DJ. She’s happy going into her 40s: “Someone said to me that these are the years where you don’t care and I get that. You learn to relax and enjoy yourself more. For me and my husband, we’re no longer surrounded by nappies and babies. You get this new lease of life.”

What does she hope audiences will take from seeing Greatest Days? “I just hope they have a great time because it’s got everything you need from a night out. You’re stood on your feet and everyone of every age is stood up with you. I’ve never seen a reaction to a show like this before. It’s about love, friendship and loss, with a thread of nostalgia. You’ll be watching a heartbreaking scene then suddenly a Take That song kicks in and you’re like ‘Wow, that brings back memories’.”

* Greatest Days is at the Alhambra from September 18-23. Call (01274) 432000 or visit bradford-theatres.co.uk